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Motion City Soundtrack isn't exactly a household name beyond its Warped Tour disciples. However, the Minneapolis-grown and road-groomed melodic punks' fourth studio effort, the recently released My Dinosaur Life, is destined to expand that reach, regardless of the band's intentions. The quintet's sound blends fuzzy-guitar-filled pop-punk with other subgenres like post-punk and post-hardcore.
"I'm not really a labels kind of guy," MCS bassist Matt Taylor cautions in a recent phone interview. "But I'd have to agree with the description 'pop-punk.' What we do definitely falls under the giant umbrella of rock somewhere. There's always some sort of melody, and there's always a bit of aggression. So I guess that would be the 'power' or the 'punk,' and the melody would be the, I guess, the 'hookiness'?"
Motion City Soundtrack is all about the hookiness on My Dinosaur Life, which snagged nearly 30,000 paying customers in its first week in stores back in January. Even on its moodier tracks, like the layered, piano-rock overture "Pulp Fiction" or "Skin and Bones," the band's inherent sense of hook and melody is apparent, resulting in choruses that stick with you — even in the face of an effort to go darker and closer to a true rock record with the new production.
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"We made a conscious decision to make this record a little more raw, a little more driving," says Taylor. "It's a very eclectic record, though."
He goes on to say that both he and the rest of the band are very satisfied with it, for which they reenlisted the aid of producer and one-third of Blink-182, Mark Hoppus. "We loved working with him on the second record [Commit This to Memory], and we just felt he'd understand where we wanted to go with this one. He just gets it."
In spite of the band's serious approach to its artistry, a lyric from current single "Her Words Destroyed My Planet" ("I fell asleep watching Veronica Mars") shows that Motion City Soundtrack can fit humor and its TV preferences into the mix. Taylor is quick to respond, "That was not me, first of all, watching that show. I've never seen an episode, I swear."
In defense of frontman Justin Pierre, he adds: "Let's not forget that he did fall asleep watching it. Maybe he was giving it a shot and it just didn't grab him [laughs]."
With a spring headlining tour well under way, the band won't have much time for viewing Kristen Bell's more recent work (Veronica Mars was canceled in 2007). There will be plenty of good times, though, Taylor promises.
"We'll get into some shenanigans and tomfoolery, for sure," he says. "We just love to get out there and have a ridiculously fun time."